Fast Facts / Economics and Demographics

Economics and Demographics

The information below includes the most up-to-date data available; statistics are for 2020 unless otherwise noted. All statistics include information from the 30 coastal U.S. states, as well as American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, unless otherwise noted.

Almost 40% Live on the Coast

Coastal counties of the U.S. are home to 129 million people, or almost 40 percent of the nation's total population, yet the coast accounts for less than 10 percent of the nation's land mass (excluding Alaska).1

40.5 Million Population Increase

From 1970 to 2020, the population in coastal counties increased by 40.5 million people, or approximately 46 percent.1,2

54.6 Million Jobs

Annually, coastal counties produce $10 trillion in goods and services, employ 54.6 million people, and pay $4 trillion in wages.3

Third in World GDP

If the nation's coastal counties were an individual country, it would rank third in the world in gross domestic product, surpassed only by the entirety of the United States and China.4

Top Five Coastal Populations

California tops the coastal populations chart with 26.8 million people living in coastal counties, followed by Florida with 16.2 million, New York with 15.9 million, New Jersey with 7.2 million, and Texas with 6.9 million.1

468 People per Square Mile

Approximately 468 people per square mile live in coastal counties (excluding Alaska), compared to the nation's population density of roughly 113 people per square mile (excluding Alaska).1

Vulnerable Populations

Nearly 22 percent of individuals living in coastal shoreline counties exhibit at least three components of social vulnerability, as defined by the U.S. Census Community Resilience Estimates (excluding the U.S. territories).5

Demographics graphic stating 40% of the population live on 10% of the land mass
Graphic is presentation-ready: copy and paste for use in a handout or presentation.

The basic geographic footprint for the data represented on this page is a suite of “Coastal Shoreline Counties” determined by using the Federal Emergency Management Agency's definition, which states that a coastal county must

  1. Have a coastline bordering the open ocean or the Great Lakes or
  2. Contain coastal high hazard areas (V-zones).

Handout: Top Ten Marine Economy